Ah, warm weather. Who doesn’t love a good brain freeze from gulping a frosty-cold slushie or licking a creamy scoop of ice cream on a hot day? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t deny my dog, Chase, that feel-good, hot-weather brain buzz! But I still like Chase to eat healthy, and I know that sharing my frozen treats with him is not always a good idea. So, what’s a doting dog mom and canine nutritionist to do? Create her own frozen dog treat recipes, of course!
Here are some of Chase’s frozen dog treat recipes, which I’m sure your dog will love, too.
What’s better than a good old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich? A frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Grapes are toxic to dogs, so these healthy PB&J treats use antioxidant-rich raspberries as the “jelly” and the added deliciousness of banana. The “secret ingredient,” gelatin, is made from collagen, the main protein found in animal connective tissue. Here are gelatin’s reported benefits: aids digestion; helps with weight loss; improves hair, skin, and nails; strengthens bones and joints; and helps protect against seizures. Plus, it gives these delectable treats an awesome, custardlike texture that tastes great straight out of the fridge or frozen!
Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
In a large bowl, sprinkle the envelope of gelatin over 1⁄2 cup of the cold water and lightly stir. Let sit for a minute or two to soften.
While the gelatin is sitting, combine the peanut butter with the maple syrup and the other 1⁄2 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture on the stove-top on low heat, stirring constantly until all ingredients are well-incorporated, and the mixture is smooth and very hot. Be careful not to burn the peanut butter!
Pour the hot mixture into the bowl of gelatin. Stir vigorously for a few minutes until all ingredients are well-incorporated and very smooth.
Thinly slice the banana, and place the slices along the bottom of the baking pan lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between each slice. Scatter the raspberries in between the banana slices (frozen raspberries do not need to be thawed).
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the fruit in the baking pan. Refrigerate for at least three hours until firm.
Remove from the refrigerator. Place a plate over the top of the baking pan, and flip the pan upside down to unmold the treats. Remove the parchment paper, and slice the treats into approximately 1-by-1-inch pieces. Place in layers in a freezer-safe container, with a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer to prevent the treats from sticking together. Cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve.
Makes 42 treats.
These treats are so delicious that your dog will never guess they’re healthy! Goat milk yogurt provides probiotics (beneficial bacteria that can help promote optimum gut health and boost the immune system), while antioxidant-rich blueberries help fight cellular damage and have immune-boosting phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds). And chia? Well, forget about those “furry” green Chia Pets that gained popularity back in the ’80s! Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and plant-based essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Measure the yogurt into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the blueberries (frozen blueberries do not need thawing), maple syrup, and coconut oil until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Stir in the chia seeds.
Place in the refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring twice during this time (alternate between letting the mixture sit for a few minutes and stirring). Remove from the refrigerator, and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Return to refrigerator and let sit for at least four hours or overnight, until the mixture thickens into a pudding consistency.
Scoop into ice cube trays, and freeze until ready to feed. Once frozen, cover with plastic wrap.
Makes approximately 16 ice cube-sized treats.
Are you totally time-strapped or just not inclined to whip up your own frozen dog treat recipes? Don’t despair. Your dog can still indulge in a frosty delight.
If your dog has a sweet tooth, check out Nature’s Variety SweetSpots Peanut Butter & Honey Frozen Treats for Dogs. Since they have live active yogurt cultures; no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives; and are 98 percent lactose-free, Buddy can afford to indulge.
For dogs who are more the “meat-and- potatoes type,” try Ice Pups from the Honest Kitchen. Made from dehydrated chicken and turkey as the main ingredients, Ice Pups are a powdery mix that combines with water for a warm broth in the winter or a refreshing, frozen “poultry sorbet” in the summer.
Did your pup love our frozen dog treat recipes? Read more dog treat recipes on Dogster:
About the author: Diana R. Laverdure, the Pet Food Diva, is an award-winning dog health writer, pet nutrition consultant, and healthy pet food advocate. She is the author (with W. Jean Dodds, D.V.M.) of the new book Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health and is currently writing her dissertation toward her master’s degree in animal science. Her weekly blog posts at petfooddiva.com discuss creating optimum health in our companion animals based on the principles of nutrigenomics, the science of how diet affects gene expression, and cellular health. Connect with her on the Pet Food Diva Facebook page and on Twitter at @PetFoodDiva.
Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our June/July 2015 issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bi-monthly magazine delivered to your home.